Clinical Residency and DNP Scholarly Project
Students complete a DNP Scholarly Project in conjunction with their clinical residency or project development courses. The DNP Scholarly Project is a project that brings together the practice and scholarship aspects of the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. It is designed to address complex practice issues that affect groups of patients, healthcare organizations, or healthcare systems while utilizing informatics, technology, and in-depth knowledge of the clinical and behavioral sciences. The clinical scholarship required in the DNP Scholarly Project reflects mastery and competency in the student’s area of expertise.
The DNP Scholarly Project continues throughout the program, culminating in a scholarly public defense. The DNP Scholarly Project requires students to demonstrate expert practice, the use of evidence-based practice, translational research, and use of skills necessary to lead interdisciplinary teams to improve patient/client outcomes and health status individually, organizationally, or within a community. Students may choose to work in settings related to their specialty practice.
The DNP Scholarly Project is guided by the DNP Scholarly Project Committee. The composition of the DNP Scholarly Project committee includes: 1) a chair who is a doctoral-prepared faculty member in the School of Nursing with regular graduate faculty status at UNC Charlotte; 2) a clinical expert (Ph.D., DNP, M.D., or other doctoral prepared individual); 3) one additional faculty member; and 4) a faculty member appointed by the Graduate School at UNC Charlotte. It is the responsibility of the DNP Scholarly Project Committee to guide the student through project planning, implementation, and evaluation process.
Upon approval of the DNP Scholarly Project topic, the student begins to develop the project. Once the project development is complete, the student presents to the committee and DNP faculty the final proposal for the project. The student’s DNP Scholarly Project proposal serves as the primary component of the qualifying examination for the DNP program. To be eligible to defend the DNP Scholarly Project proposal, a student must have completed the written proposal and orally presented the proposal to the committee. This written and oral presentation is used to evaluate if the student is prepared and qualified to begin work on the project.
Institutional Review Board Approval
The DNP Scholarly Project must be collectively agreed upon by the student, the practice setting, and the student’s DNP Scholarly Project Committee. Prior to beginning the DNP Scholarly Project, the project may require approval of the UNC Charlotte Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Institutional Review Board at the agency where the project will be conducted. If required, all IRB requirements must be fulfilled prior to launching the project. Any additional agency requirements must be completed prior to beginning implementation of the project.
After completion of the DNP Scholarly Project, the student orally defends the written project to the Project Committee in a public defense. The outcome of the project defense is pass or no pass. The student is allowed two attempts to present/defend the DNP scholarly project. Failure to successfully defend after two attempts results in dismissal from the program. Details regarding timelines and benchmarks in conducting and defending the project are available in the DNP Student Handbook.